a film by Jérome M. Oliveira and Pascal Roche.
based on an idea by Marc Hernandez.
2011 | 40 mins | France - Germany.
starring - François Sagat; with contributions from his sister Caroline, alongside Ethan Anders / porn star, Christophe Honoré / filmmaker, Wilfried Knight / porn star, Bruce LaBruce / filmmaker, Chi Chi LaRue / filmmaker, Cyrille Marie / director of programmes Pink TV, Brian Mills / Titan Média, Dean Monroe / porn star, Olivier Nicklaus / filmmaker and Jean-Luc Verna / artiste.
Adapted Synopsis: "Charting his early beginnings to becoming one of the biggest stars in the adult industry, this provocative documentary sees gay porn icon François Sagat open up about topics ranging from hyper-masculinity, personal fetishes, to the politics of the business, offering a revealing insight into the man behind the image."
Okay, let's cut to the chase. For fans of the muscular physique and unique looks of porn star, model, if not actor and performance artiste François Sagat, of late of Man at Bath credit could end up feeling a bit let down here, given shots of Sagat in all of his sexual prowess are heavily censored throughout this insightful work; from digital pixilation to blatant on-screen cover-ups, the Sagat of hardcore fame is simply - not on view. Well at least not in this, the UK censored print.
What is on show however is frankly more interesting, that of a narrative intercut with a series of interviews with those in the sex trade, including porn house Kings and Queens Brian Mills and Chi Chi LaRue, spoken excerpts that surprisingly detail how Sagat was initially rejected by Titan Média somewhat ironically on account of his trademark tattoo, having deemed his body just "too strange." A man of contrasting worlds, perhaps the most perceptive part of this work lies not in the various insert footage, as artistic "Sagat as a blank canvas" as they are; rather in a rare photographic flashback to François' early years. Complete with touching words from his sister Caroline, it is here that clues as to his drive for physical perfection begin to emerge. Clearly the object of verbal abuse during his formative years, Sagat took to the gym in order to transform his skinny, effeminate physique into the He-Man form of today and thereafter a chosen career in adult entertainment, doing porn as a means of having sex with other men of equal build.
The trademark look and style of Sagat.
Yet behind the gloss of the publicity styled imagery of the hardcore trade, the crumbling undercoat of the business can be found; from erection injections to touched up, think fake, images of OTT appendages, the sheer hypocrisy of production companies who pride themselves on preaching the safe sex message, only to frequently and alarmingly contract their performers to engage in acts of condom-less sex, is laid bare for all to see. Commenting "we should ban bareback scenes," whilst openly considering quitting the business altogether, you cannot help but wonder just what the future holds for Sagat when his adult days are over? Interestingly, it is here that Sagat reveals a self-taught gift as an artist, with drawing being as much an integral part of his life, as sex. An alternative career? Who can say, given the man himself takes life one day at a time, with his body, his art and his art, his life.
The man behind the image, that is Sagat.
But at the forty minute mark, this is way too short a documentary to truly get inside the mind of the man himself, even if it says a lot of his porn star status to have a film made about him in the first place. And what we do see is intriguing; that of a man who having taken the gay porn industry by storm yearns to escape from the spotlight of its fame, opting for masks, costumes and even camp as if a means to hide from his trademark look and style. As for the viewer, well given the brevity of this mini-documentary, the good folk at TLA Releasing have jam-packed the DVD with over seventy minutes worth of bonus, frequently making of, material. Only given the subject matter, you cannot help but wonder if a R18 outing in the UK would have made for a better medium to showcase Sagat in all of his, how you say - uncut glory?
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - the UK censored monty.
Overall - file under ... 3 stars.